Baku urges Yerevan to restraint from provocation on European Games eve

By: Mushvig Mehdiyev

Azerbaijan will severely respond to any possible provocation by Armenia on the eve and during the European Games in Baku, the Defense Ministry reported.

Spokesman for the ministry, Vagif Dargahli did not exclude the fact that Armenia may resort to provocative attempts on the eve of the European Games in Baku to exacerbate the situation on the line of contact between the two armies.

Referring to periodical sabotage operations, Dargahli said similar moves by the Armenian forces have been observed on the frontline.

While Baku and the OSCE Minsk Group are actively working to secure a breakthrough towards the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, Armenia’s armed forces periodically encroach on Azerbaijan’s sovereignty by conducting sabotage attacks on the frontline.

The Defense Ministry in its statements warn Armenia that Baku will not stand idly while its people and land are being threatened by a belligerent entity.

“Azerbaijan will severely respond to Armenia’s provocations in any case,” he confirmed.

The ministry insisted that should anything come to disturb the European Games in the face of frontline tensions, Armenia’s leadership will be held solely responsible.

Dargahli reminded all that Armenia forces have traditionally staged provocations in the occupied territories and bordering zones on the eve of the anniversary of the so-called “Armenian genocide”, as well as significant events in Azerbaijan to sow discord and instill fear.

“Azerbaijan troops will rebuff and repel any acts of sabotage,” he stressed

The European Games will take place in Baku on June 12-28, 2015. A total of 20 sports will be introduced at Baku 2015: 16 Olympic sports and four non-Olympic sports.

More than 6,000 athletes from across Europe will join the first ever pan-European sports event.

Baku was awarded the privilege to host the large-scale sports ceremony by the European Olympic Committees in December 2012.

Meanwhile, Armenia’s National Olympic Committee announced on March 11 that it will send athletes to the inaugural European Games set to be held later this year in Baku.

However, the NOC decision has been hotly contested between the Olympic Committee chiefs and some of the country’s sports federations’ heads, who have opposed the idea of participating in the gargantuan Games.

Armenia and Azerbaijan remain locked in a bitter territorial dispute over the Nagorno-Karabakh region, which Armenia-backed separatists seized from Azerbaijan in a bloody war in the early 1990s.

Armenian army drove out Azerbaijanis from the Nagorno-Karabakh region and other bordering districts in a vicious and bloody military campaign. As a result 20 percent of Azerbaijan found itself under foreign military occupation.

Almost all of the current 145,000 civilians living in the occupied territories are now Armenians and the region has declared itself the “Nagorno-Karabakh Republic”. It is important to note that no country or international organization has recognized its legal existence since the region is and will remain part of Azerbaijan national territory.